I heard the term highly sensitive child for the first time in 2010, coincidentally twice in theAmanda van Mulligen same week. My son’s nursery school teacher said she thought my 3 year old may be highly sensitive. A few days later my father-in-law, a family therapist, said the same thing. I started reading, and I haven’t looked back. Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person website told me everything I needed to know, and my journey as a mother of a highly sensitive child started there.

Since then we have had ups and downs as a family of five, finding our way through a world of parenting a child who feels that little bit more than other children, that observes more, sees more, understands more – who wears his heart on his sleeve.

Highly sensitive is a beautiful thing to be. But there are challenges. Parents need support. Highly sensitive children need support too, and they need acceptance and understanding. They don’t need a diagnosis. They need nurturing. They need to know it is okay to be themselves in a world that doesn’t always give them that impression.

This blog is for all of you parenting, caring for, or educating a highly sensitive child. It’s for all parents who are themselves also highly sensitive. It’s a place for support, a place to help nurture our highly sensitive children, so that our children are happy sensitive kids.

I love hearing from you so please feel free to contact me, ask questions, share insights. After all, it is from each other that we learn.

Best wishes,

Amanda van Mulligen


23 Responses to About

  1. Pingback: Small world, BIG feelings | Plinky

  2. Rachel Wooden says:

    Hi Amanda
    We discovered our daughter is highly sensitive after her first year at secondary school, when she started to develop migraines from the ‘normal’ noise levels of a standard British secondary school (her primary school was small and catered well for her, despite not knowing about HSCs!). It has been a wonderful eye-opening few months for us, and your blog has been really helpful too. Our daughter has been relieved to find out that she is normal, after telling us she has felt ‘different’ and ‘odd’ her whole life. We now look at her with a completely different perspective and she continually amazes (and often challenges) us. The complication for us has been to discover she is HSC at the same time as puberty, and we keep having to work out which is HSC and which is normal 12 year old puberty! Her school has been amazingly supportive and want to work with us to make the school more HSC-friendly, which is wonderful, but I have realised how few people in the UK still know (and understand). I do feel I am constantly explaining to friends and family what it means and why it is absolutely fine that our daughter is different to 80-85% of the population around her. She actually likes being different! – and one of the other advantages (for her and us) is that she feels no need to conform to those around her or bow to peer pressure.
    Despite the challenges having an HSC brings, I wouldn’t swap it for the world – it is a joy and a privilege to be bringing up such an amazing human being.
    Thank you for what you are doing to help the world become aware….


    • Firstly, it’s wonderful that you have been able to identify that she is highly sensitive and that she can now be fully confident that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her!! That’s a good feeling to start from – and amazing that she sees feeling different as a good thing – that is inspirational because being highly sensitive can be a truly wonderful gift if a child is understood and accepted.

      It’s also great that the school wants to work with you and make the school more HSC friendly!! That is not common so cherish that willingness.

      So happy you found the blog and thank you so much for sharing your story!!!


  3. louise says:

    This morning I came back from dropping my daughter off at preschool in tears after one of the leaders described how she doesn’t join in, stands in the corner sometimes, took ages to eat etc. and generally made me feel something awful was wrong! she didn’t want to go this morning because she didn’t like the noisy children at story time! Since looking at this site and the link you showed I feel so much relief, something I always suspected and tried to tell people was that it was just her personality. I’m fed up with people tilting their heads and telling me she’s shy as if its bad. I hope I can now help guide her to be more happy and relaxed in the environments she struggles with such as pre school and parties etc. Fortunately one of the other leaders is much more helpful. Thank you for sharing your experiences. A positive thing about the internet!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s wonderful to hear! There is indeed absolutely nothing wrong with being highly sensitive. We need more understanding and supportive teachers in the systems so that our children do not grow up thinking there is something wrong with them! The impact of such comments is long lasting and destructive.

      Look forward to hearing more from you – there’s a HSK community on Facebook if you’re not already there – a wonderful group! 😄


  4. ocieanna says:

    Hello. I’m not sure where exactly to contact you, so I thought I’d just ask my question here. My daughter could be highly sensitive, at least in some areas. She really struggles with feelings about friends. If they aren’t super into her, she senses they don’t like her and she can’t seem to talk herself out of it. I’m wondering if someone here could point me to some articles about how to help my sweet girl to handle these friendships when she takes everything so intensely personally. Thank you!


  5. dutchalaskan says:

    great, thank you for your quick follow up!! The FB page sounds great! Groetjes:)


  6. Done! Perhaps a god place is in the Happy Sensitive Kids FB page community?
    Thank you for your kind words. Once you have seen this I will delete this too! Groetjes, Amanda


  7. Melissa Patterson says:

    Amanda-Thank you so much for your blog and insights! My beautiful, 10 year old son, Luke, is definitely a highly sensitive child. Between my daughter’s on going health issues, as well as my husband’s Leauemia….it has taken me awhile to get to the heart of my son’s struggles, especially at school. But at home too, and I realize that what is going on with his dad and sister affect him greatly more than most kids. 😦 At school, he really has issues with the noise and activity at public school. This sounds terrible, but he is such an introvert and I, up until now, just thought that he needed to toughen up. I think it is difficult to know when to help them adjust to the real world as an HSC, and when to help their world adjust to their unique needs. Does that make sense? I just wrote to the principal at his school, asking if there is any opportunity for Luke to eat somewhere else, other than the cafeteria. He has struggled since kindergarten with the noise. I have tried to help and always listen and ask open ended questions, while giving lots of empathy. Wondering if home school is going to be our route next year…Our public school district has limited resources for special needs. Tired and wore down. BUT, so happy to finally have a light at the end of a very long tunnel. Hard though, because I feel guilt for not investigating and seeing sooner. 😦 I hope that Luke’s life will now get much better!


    • It sounds like you have a lot on your plate and I hope that you find a path that fits for your son – and your family. I am so glad there is light at the end of the tunnel – and that you are able to make sense of things – that helps so much! I wish you every success – stay in touch and let me know how it is going. If you are not already part of the HSK community you are most welcome there to talk about things with other parents in a closed group.https://www.facebook.com/groups/HappySensitiveKidsCommunity/


  8. MB says:

    I am from India. I have read your blogs on Highly Sensitive Child and found it too useful. We have a 4 Y 7 months old son who is an HSC. We could not relate to the concept and kept struggling to figure out .However we are struggling with 1 thing which we could not find answer to.

    My Son is too dependent and attached to few non HSC children in class, playground . As a results he expects them to include him in all the play and activities . He would want to sit with them only all the time in the class too. However as they are non- HSC , they may sometime say that they dont want to play with him or they will start playing with other children and may not include my son in that . It leads to a major meltdown and he starts saying that i don’t have any friends and i cant play with anyone. Also, he says that he can not make new friends.

    Can you please suggest some workable solution /strategies which could help us ? Its leading to challenge everyday as he is getting impacted by inconsistent behaviour of few non-HSC kids.
    How can we reduce/eliminate this impact ?

    Thanks a lot for having this blog post.


  9. Sarah says:

    Thank you very much for your wonderful blog. It’s so encouraging to know we’re not the only family who face extra daily challenges in a world that is sometimes overwhelming!
    We’re a bilingual family in France and i do find the cultural differences sometimes add to the challenges. (For example, my highly sensitive 7 year daughter is in an end of term show (a big thing for her)…but we found out just recently that it will start at 8pm on Friday. Not at all the best time for an HSK to be performing!)
    Anyway…I will be following your blog with great pleasure – thanks for the support and invaluable info and ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind & encouraging words! I’m glad you’ve found the blog to be helpful – and no, you are certainly not the only family! If you’re not part of the FB group then join us all there too – it’s a fabulous supportive group!

      8pm as a start time? 😳 That’s nuts!!!!!


  10. Liz says:

    Amanda – I can’t thank you enough for your blog. Your testimony and advice have helped us so much in helping our son. We always knew he was different but couldn’t put my finger on it. He is definitely a HSC and through reading have learned that I’m a highly sensitive adult…which also explains a lot! He is the sweetest kid and he will do big things … All I have to do is help him learn how to. Thank you so much for your time, energy and wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lisa says:

    I am a (recently recognised) highly sensitive (single) parent with a (possibly) highly sensitive 4year old who is negative, defiant and argumentative and often screams and tantrums from first thing in the morning – I also have a 12 year old stuck in the middle Of this – I despair – I don’t know where to turn for help!! I try to stay patient, encouraging and loving but she drains me and I don’t have any daily support! I wish I didn’t get affected by it so much and could switch off to her drama but it seems impossible at times – then I feel guilty when I blow!! Where do I start? X


  12. Choosing Joy says:

    Having so many ah-ha moments reading your blog posts – thank you!


  13. I’ve nominated you for an Inspiring Blogger Award! Hop over to my blog to find out more! http://www.sensitiveandextraordinary.com/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    Liked by 1 person

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